When you are trying to run a business, particularly a smaller one where, as the owner, you are wearing many hats, your entire focus is on growing your business and making it a viable and profitable enterprise. Thinking about the community and helping others may seem like the least of your priorities when you are already busy, but if you can, it can not only benefit the local community but your business as well.
Companies that strongly support their local communities, whether by forming partnerships with local charities or empowering workers to volunteer, have a better chance of gaining customer loyalty. They are also much more likely to attract a better talent pool, which is also beneficial to the business.
However, many businesses – understandably – do not really know how to support their local communities in an authentic and meaningful way. Here, we explore some of the things that you can do to benefit your local community.
Establish a local partnership to offer work experience
Look at how you can work with local schools and colleges to offer young people in your local community work experience or apprenticeships. For you, you get some cost-effective help and assistance and perhaps find some great young talent who you can mould your way, while also giving young people a chance to learn new skills and try out potential career paths.
Make donations to or sponsor a school
No matter how much money a school is provided by governments and local authorities, they always need more. Look at making some regular donations to your local school – if not cash donations, offer to pay their snack bill a few times a year, or pay for some much needed new furniture from Civic Australia. You could also look at sponsoring their sports team or coffee mornings in return for having your business details on a sign or newsletter.
Donate your skills
You will have a wealth of expertise, skills, and experience as a local business owner. Consider how many questions you could not answer and problems you thought that you could not fix when you were first starting out. Maybe you got lucky and figured it out on your own – or maybe you had someone teach you how? Your knowledge is priceless, and you will find that many people will leap at the opportunity to hear you speak and learn from you.
Despite the fact that time is a valuable asset, many of the world’s largest corporations recognise the benefit of encouraging workers to volunteer at a charity or cause of their choosing for a certain amount of hours per year, and you can do the same locally. Whether it is volunteering at a food bank, planting trees in a field, cleaning up a children’s park, or decorating a community hall, you can make a difference. Encourage your employees to get involved by setting an example – note that everybody has different interests, so getting involved with a variety of local causes is the best way to go.